Jonathan Foley: “The other Inconvenient Truth”

Film: Food, Inc.

                   Lecture: Jonathan Foley: “The other Inconvenient Truth” 


When we ask the question, Will the World Provide?, perhaps the most fundamental resource we need to consider is food. It is something humans cannot live without. But humans can live with inadequate or unhealthful food supplies, but that leaves our health at risk.

The chapter on Food, the movie Food, Inc., and the TED talks lecture on “The Other Inconvenient Truth” provide a mixed review of future food resources for humans. On the one hand, there have been miracle developments in agriculture worldwide that has increased food supplies dramatically. These include the Green Revolution in developing countries and industrial agriculture practices in the developed countries, especially the US. On the other hand, even adequate production of food does not guarantee that poor people can afford it. After the recent economic downturn, 1.1 billion people worldwide are malnourished because they cannot afford the high price of food.

Poverty may be the most important challenge people face in the developing world in terms of eating adequate food. In the developed world, a different problem we face is that our new agricultural methods may not be sustainable in the long run. Pages 84 and 85 of your textbook suggest this dilemma: “Western agriculture basically turns fossil fuel into food.” Beef production wastes the calories available in grains. Water use for irrigation is severely challenging our water resources. And even in the developing countries, the Green Revolution (Pages 94-97) has intensified the use of fossil fuels, fertilizer, pesticides, and water.

Food, Inc. suggests that the way Americans produce food, and especially meat, is not sustainable because it is unhealthy. And the chapter on Food, in discussing “Future Food Supplies” (Pages 100-107) concludes somewhat pessimistically.

For this essay, please respond to this question (600-800 words): will there be enough food to feed everyone, everywhere, in a sustainable and healthy manner over the next fifty years?

Sample Solution